Category Archives: Harlingen

Mother-daughter duo finds success at TSTC

(HARLINGEN) – Missy and Micah Valdez, mother and daughter, are a duo to be reckoned with. Both are students at Texas State Technical College who hold each other to high standards and have high hopes for each other’s success.

The journey to TSTC began untraditionally for Missy. She had been in the banking business for three decades and risen to senior bank manager and vice president at a local bank before being laid off in 2017.

“I dedicated nearly 22 years of my career to (that) place, and just like that I lost my job,” said Missy. “It’s been a difficult transition. But I’m ready for a career change, and TSTC has been there for me.”

Wasting no time, Missy used the tuition assistance that was included in her severance package to enroll in the Health Information Technology program at TSTC in Harlingen.

But transitioning from a high-level position and six-figure salary to student life was no easy feat.

“I’m 49 and hadn’t been in a classroom since high school, so it was intimidating,” said Missy. “I’m definitely one of (the oldest), if not the oldest, in class.”

Missy got her dream job as a bank teller straight out of high school and said because of that she never pursued a college education.Micah and Missy Valdez

But despite her fears and the challenges she faces as a full-time student, wife and mother, Missy has maintained a 3.9 grade-point average and earned spots on the vice chancellor’s and dean’s lists.

“None of this would be possible without the support of my children and husband,” said Missy. “They have been nothing but encouraging and understanding.”

Missy expects to graduate from Health Information Technology with an associate degree in Spring 2019 and will return to TSTC to apply for the vocational nursing and registered nursing programs.

“I am so proud of my mom and everything she has accomplished,” said Micah. “She’s a go-getter and an inspiration. To watch her get an education to better herself has been a great journey, and I’m glad we get to do college together.”

The 22-year-old is enrolled in Surgical Technology and hopes to graduate with her associate degree in Summer 2019.

She and her mother were no strangers to TSTC before they enrolled.

When Micah was in high school, her father underwent open-heart surgery, and she recalls being mesmerized by the staff who nursed him back to health. Eventually she received a nursing assistant certificate from TSTC as a dual-enrollment student at Harlingen South High School.

“I’ve always been interested in the medical field, but I really began pursuing a career in it after my father became ill,” she said. “I want to be to others what my dad’s medical staff was for him and our family, and TSTC allows me to do this close to home.”

The Harlingen native and her father are like two peas in pod. “We do everything together,” said Micah.

Micah recently began her clinicals at Valley Baptist Medical Center and said she is excited to begin the journey of patient care.

“TSTC provides the perfect space. We have fully functional operating rooms equipped with a mannequin, lights, and all of the tools and instruments we’ll be working with in industry,” said Micah. “For me, this makes learning easy and fun.”

Micah hopes one day to become a surgical nurse.

She said having her mom on campus as a peer has made her experience even better.

“I’m happy to have her on campus. I told all of my friends right away about her coming to TSTC,” said Micah. “We see each other around campus sometimes, and we even study together at home. We help each other out.”

Both women agree that they admire their instructors’ knowledge and experience and enjoy the hands-on training TSTC provides because they know it will help them become the best in their professions.

The one thing they wish they could change: not graduating together.

“It would be great if we were graduating the same semester. That would be a grand celebration. But at least we only have to purchase one cap and gown,” Missy said with a laugh.

For more information on Surgical Technology or Health Information Technology, visit tstc.edu.

TSTC hosts annual Rio Grande Valley Counselor Update

(HARLINGEN) – Diana Alejos went from exhibit to exhibit, speaking with faculty and learning about the more than 30 technical programs offered at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen, during the college’s annual Counselor Update hosted at the TSTC Wellness and Sports Center.

“I enjoyed this event very much. Many of my colleagues agree that this was the best one yet,” said Alejos, migrant counselor at J. Economedes High School in Edinburg.

Alejos was one of nearly 50 counselors from across the Rio Grande Valley who attended this year’s update.

“The event was an absolute success,” said Erica Gonzalez, TSTC coordinator of Student Recruitment. “This event is one of the largest we host to ensure that counselors have the latest information they need about TSTC to pass along to their students.”

Gonzalez said changes were made this year to give counselors access to more information and update them on recruitment and enrollment processes, dual enrollment and student learning.

In the past, the update has consisted of a campus tour and an in-depth look into at least three or four technical programs. But this year, TSTC created a program showcase, giving counselors access to every program on campus and the opportunity to speak with faculty from every Counselor Updateprogram.

Gonzalez said the changes to this year’s event were met with positive feedback.

“It was refreshing to see the new setup,” said Alejos. “To have every program in one place was an upgrade. It really gave my colleagues and me an in-depth look into the programs TSTC offers, compared to only visiting a few.”

“It is my goal to get all of the information I can to better serve our migrant population. I definitely gained a lot by attending this update and have a lot of information to pass along to our students,” she added.

Counselors were treated to a breakfast and lunch catered by TSTC’s Culinary Arts students; a message from the keynote speaker, local attorney and TSTC alumna Krista Guiter, who discussed her experience at TSTC and spoke about empowering young girls to get a higher education; and presentations from three TSTC students: Bianca Moreno, Juanita Salinas and Carlos Obregon.

Obregon received an associate degree in Computer Maintenance Technology in 2016. He is pursuing a second associate degree in Health Information Technology and works as a community assistant for TSTC Housing.

He said he enjoyed sharing his TSTC experience with counselors and hopes that his words made an impact and can help other students.

“I hope counselors will be inspired to tell their students about my experience, especially as a migrant student. Education is not always first on our priority list,” said Obregon.

“I also had a great migrant counselor in high school who pushed me and motivated me to continue my education. Without her, I wouldn’t be here. And because she was at the event, I got a chance to thank her personally,” he added.

That counselor is Alejos.

“Seeing Carlos, hearing his story and learning about everything he has accomplished at TSTC was a highlight for me and very unexpected,” said Alejos. “And it was especially touching when he thanked me for my time as his counselor.”

Gonzalez said she hopes to maintain the new event format for future Counselor Updates, which are hosted statewide among TSTC’s 10 campuses.

“Our core values at TSTC are excellence, integrity, accountability and service, and the Counselor Update is a great place to model who we are,” said Gonzalez. “We want them to know that at TSTC we go above and beyond for our students, and their success is our top priority.”

To learn more about TSTC and the technical programs offered, visit tstc.edu.

Student Success Profile – Amanda Perez

(HARLINGEN) – Amanda PerezAmanda Perez is a Vocational Nursing student at Texas State Technical College. The Los Fresnos native holds a 3.1 grade-point average and expects to graduate with her certificate in Summer 2019.

The 21-year-old is an active member of the Vocational Nursing Club, where she serves as parliamentarian. She also works as a nursing assistant at a Brownsville nursing home.

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate I plan on working for one year to gain experience and then return to TSTC to pursue an associate degree in registered nursing.

What’s your dream job?

My dream job is to become a pediatric nurse. The children are our future, and I want to help keep them healthy or nurse them back to health when they’re sick. I feel like I can make a positive impact in this area.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment at TSTC was graduating with my certificate from the nursing assistant program and gaining employment immediately. TSTC, in a nutshell, has given me the opportunity of continual growth.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

The greatest lesson I have learned about myself is that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I’ve learned to have more faith in myself and my skills. The nursing assistant and the vocational nursing programs have really helped me discover and unlock my potential.

Who at TSTC has had the greatest influence on your success?

My nursing assistant and vocational nursing instructor, Emily Gonzalez, has had the most influence on my success. She has always encouraged me to keep going when life gets too hard and has motivated me to get involved with our program clubs and get out of my comfort zone.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

Study, study and study. Learn as much as you can; TSTC gives you that opportunity. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions; that’s the only way to learn new things.

Student Success Profile – Cesar Meza

(HARLINGEN) – Cesar Meza is a Business Management Technology student at Texas State Technical College. The 19-year-old hopes to receive his associate degree by Summer 2019.

Until then, the Harlingen native has a goal of creating a Business Management Technology club so that like-minded students can come together and share their passion for business while doing community service and making the community a better place.Cesar Meza

What are your plans after graduation?

After I graduate from TSTC, I plan on transferring to the University of Texas to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

What’s your dream job?

I have a passion for business. In fact, my brothers and I are starting up a clothing brand called ESC, which stands for escape. We want our clothing to be considered unique and out of the box and allow people to get creative with fashion. So my dream is to grow this business with them and become a successful clothing business owner.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment has been my grades. I’m proud of myself for maintaining A’s and B’s in all of my classes. Being a college student is not always easy. It takes a lot of hard work and it’s paid off. I’m proud of myself for that.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

The greatest lesson I have learned is to not take time for granted. Time is a precious thing, and one thing TSTC has taught me is time management. Now I am a lot more productive with the time I am given.

Who at TSTC has had the greatest influence on your success?

The person at TSTC who has inspired me the most is Social and Behavioral Science instructor Frank Coronado. He has taught me how to pay attention to detail and how to be an active listener for others and their messages. He is a great instructor and person overall who cares about his students.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

This may sound cliche, but my advice to future TSTC students is to never give up. No matter what cards you are dealt, you must rise and keep going. We can all achieve success; you just have to work hard and push forward.

San Benito native returns to his roots at TSTC

(HARLINGEN) – Agriculture was a way of life for Daniel Agado, but he lost sight of it growing up. Years later, he has returned to his roots and is celebrating one month as the Agricultural Technology lab assistant at Texas State Technical College in Harlingen.

“This month has been great. I can honestly say I have found a career move that is permanent,” said Agado. “I love TSTC, agriculture, and helping students pursue their dreams in this field. To me, this is the next best thing to being a farmer.”

The San Benito native said he always wanted to be a farmer as a young boy. Some of his earliest memories include driving a tractor when he was 8 years old; helping his grandparents and uncle plant and harvest crops such as sorghum, corn and cotton; repairing fences; and helping with animals.

But after high school, feeling pressure to attend a four-year university, he enrolled at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and pursued a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

“I wasn’t in the right mindset. I was young, and the transition from high school to college was a difficult one for me,” he said. “I ended up dropping out.”

For a few years after UTPA, Agado worked odd jobs, none of which he considered lifelong careers. So he enrolled at a local community college to study biology.TSTC Agricultural Tech Daniel Agado

He ended up earning his associate degree from South Texas College in 2009, and later he transferred back to UTPA to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology.

“Once again, life got in the way. I had a family to support, and college was no longer a priority,” said Agado, who is married and has three children. “I had to work full time and make a living.”

With his bachelor’s degree nearly completed, Agado left UTPA and worked for nearly six years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center just north of Edinburg. He had worked part time at this location as a student.

At the USDA, Agado served as a biology researcher studying beneficial insects and managing research farms in Weslaco.

“I truly enjoyed this job, but I felt stuck. I had plateaued and had nowhere to grow,” he said. “But it was these years of experience that led me to TSTC and my current position, so I appreciate it now.”

Agado enrolled in the Wind Energy Technology program at TSTC in 2016. Little did he know that not only was a degree waiting for him, but also a job-offer-turned-career.

“When I first arrived at TSTC, I was offered the position I have now, but I turned it down because I wanted to finish my program,” he said. “But I guess sometimes things are just meant to be, because here I am.”

Agado earned his associate degree in Wind Energy Technology in Spring 2018 as a TSTC Board of Regents honors graduate with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

“I chose wind energy to begin with because it’s a booming career. I knew there would be financial stability,” he said. “I got some great job offers, but I couldn’t relocate my family.”

Agado now assists TSTC Agricultural Technology department chairman and instructor Sammy Gavito and instructor Sheren Farag with their classes and labs.

“Daniel has extensive experience and broad knowledge about the agriculture industry,” said Gavito. “He brings a lot of expertise to different areas of our curriculum and has already shown us that teaching comes naturally to him and is his calling.”

“We are so excited to have Daniel on our team. And I see him growing with TSTC and within our industry. The sky’s the limit for Daniel,” Gavito added.

Come Spring 2019, not only will Agado continue his work as a lab assistant, but he will also be enrolled as a student in the TSTC Agricultural Technology program.

He plans on pursuing an associate degree and later transferring to Texas A&M-Kingsville for a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification in Agriculture Science.

Agado’s goal: “I hope to someday become a full-time instructor with TSTC’s Agricultural Technology program.”

For more information on Agricultural Technology, visit tstc.edu/programs/AgriculturalTechnology.

TSTC, Valley Baptist Medical Center receive TWC grant for training

(HARLINGEN) – The Workforce Development and Continuing Education department at Texas State Technical College, in partnership with Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, recently received a Skills Development Fund grant for customized job training.

The check, in the amount of $301,238, was presented by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) during a ceremony hosted at TSTC’s Cultural Arts Center this week.

The training provided by this grant is already in session and will last one year.

TSTC Workforce Development Executive Director Isidro Ramos said it is an honor to partner with TWC and industry to provide technical skills training.TSTC, Valley Baptist Check Presentation

“TSTC plays a vital role in ensuring that our local communities have a skilled workforce so that we may all grow and prosper,” said Ramos. “This grant makes it possible for employees to stay current in their specialty, increase career mobility and salary, and service our area with the best health care possible.”

The grant provides customized job training for 155 Valley Baptist Medical Center employees such as certified nursing assistants, registered nurses and nurse managers.

The training will focus on health care and social assistance topics, including personal leadership, quality management, trauma care, pediatric care and nurse’s aide skills.

Valley Baptist Chief Nursing Officer Steven Hill calls this grant a blessing to his staff and the community they serve.

“We are excited to have received the funds that will help us train our frontline staff,” said Hill. “TSTC’s training is invaluable and, although classes have only begun, we can already see how it’s benefiting our staff and our department. We will reap the benefits of this grant for years to come.”

Additionally, Valley Baptist employees who successfully complete the trauma and pediatric care after resuscitation, trauma nursing core course and emergency pediatric training will receive professional board certifications.

“These additional certifications not only give our health care professionals an enhanced skill set, but also give our community a higher level of care,” said Hill.

Valley Baptist Medical Center is the only level-two trauma facility south of San Antonio. It already partners with TSTC’s Allied Health division, serving as a practicum site for the college’s vocational nursing and registered nursing students.Julian Alvarez

“The longtime partnership we have with Valley Baptist is tremendous,” said TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez. “It is a privilege to be able to work closely with them in this and other endeavors. The support we have for each other benefits our campus, our students and our community.”

TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez said the economic impact these types of grants have on the state is large.

“This particular grant has a $307,000 economic impact,” he said. “And because of training like this, our unemployment rate is decreasing and partnerships are growing because we all understand what it takes to improve our workforce.”

“I want to let everyone know that the stars are aligning for the South Texas region because of the support and representation you have in Austin. And TSTC, we thank you for always providing innovative training and understanding industry needs,” Alvarez added.

For more information on training provided by TSTC’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education, call 956-364-4590 or visit tstc.edu/continuingeducation.

TSTC Alum Finds Success in Hobby Turned Career

(HARLINGEN) – As a child, Harlingen native Hunter Warner would help his father and friends work on cars and trucks.

So wasting no time at all, when he was faced with figuring out his future after high school he enrolled in the Diesel Equipment Technology program at Texas State Technical College in Fort Bend County.

His only challenge – having to move away from home for the first time.

And although there were other diesel programs in the Valley, the now 20-year-old knew TSTC was the right fit for him because of his financial situation, it was a two-year program versus four-year and it was a brand new campus.

“I had always heard about TSTC and it always came highly recommended by teachers and friends,” said Warner. “So when I heard about the new campus in Rosenberg and the new diesel program, I jumped on it. But moving away is never easy.”Hunter Warner

Like with any move, there were expenses to cover and for Warner who was a college student, there was also tuition, books and supplies.

Fortunately, Warner received the TSTC Texan Success Scholarship and was able to transfer his sales representative position at Discount Tire to the Rosenberg location.

“Although moving away was hard, it was overall a great experience and way of growing personally and professionally,” said Warner. “The training I received was invaluable. It laid my foundation.”

Warner said he is a hands-on learner, so the majority of class time spent at the TSTC diesel lab working on assignments and projects with equipment actually used in industry helped him succeed.

“School is not my forte. I learn by doing, not reading,” said Warner. “And although I did consider other colleges, TSTC stood out because of its hands-on learning.”

Before Warner walked across the commencement stage in December 2017 to receive his certificate in Diesel Equipment Technology, he had a job waiting for him with Ag-Pro Companies in Harlingen.

“It was such a relief knowing I had a job waiting for me. Although, I was scared to take the plunge and leave my job at Discount Tire; I was comfortable,” he said. “But my family and friends encouraged me and told me not to let my education go to waste because of my fear.”

So now Warner is back home working as a service technician at Ag-Pro on heavy equipment such as tractors. He will be celebrating his one-year anniversary in a couple of months.

Ag-Pro Service Manager and Warner’s direct supervisor Christie Hill said it was his skills, know-how and his will to take initiative that caught her attention.

“I knew he would be a great asset to our team,” said Hill. “He is self-motivated, not afraid to work on something new and gets along great with others.”

Hill said he started out in the Lawn and Garden department and quickly got promoted to the heavy equipment side of the house.

“His dream is to become a field technician and have his own truck,” she said. I have no doubt that he will get there sooner than later. He works hard and has ambition.”

In fact, Warner will be attending a week-long session at John Deere School getting further training on electrics and hydraulics.

Warner describes his job more as a hobby than actual work because he loves it so much, and he credits TSTC’s Placement Officer Judy Cox and his diesel program instructors for helping him open this chapter.

“I want thank them for their tireless efforts in helping us students get a job,” said Warner. “Because of them I now have the dream of opening up my own diesel mechanics shop. And with what I learned at TSTC and the experience I’m gaining at Ag-Pro, I know that it can become reality.”

“And it feels great to be back home,” he added.

Diesel Technology is offered at TSTC’s Fort Bend County, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. For more information on Diesel Equipment Technology, visit tstc.edu/programs/DieselEquipmentTechnology.

TSTC student leaders work to increase student voter registration

(HARLINGEN) – Amanda Jimenez, 21, registered to vote this week for only the second time since her eighteenth birthday because of the encouragement she received from student leaders at Texas State Technical College during an event for National Voter Registration Day.

“Voting is important. It impacts the people in our communities, our families and us individually,” said Jimenez. “I needed to be reminded about this. I haven’t voted in a while because I haven’t liked the political landscape, but they (student leaders) explained to me that to see change I must vote.”

Jimenez said she will exercise her right to vote in the upcoming midterm elections on November 6.

There are more than 20 TSTC student leaders from campus organizations such as Student Government Association, TSTC Service Squad and TSTC Leadership Academy, who have completed the required country training to become Volunteer Deputy Registrars for the state of Texas.

Volunteer Deputy Registrars are trained to officially register voters in the state of TTSTC Voter Registrationexas. They are appointed by the county voter registrars and charged with helping increase voter registration in the state.

TSTC Student Orientation and Activities Coordinator Larissa Moreno said this project is part of many civic engagement and community service projects the students participate in.

Increasing student voter registration has been an initiative set in place by TSTC and its student leaders for at least a decade.

“Students respond to their peers and engage more freely with them,” said Moreno. “Voting is an important subject that impacts many people, so we want students to ask questions and start conversations with those they are comfortable with.”

Moreno said every student appointed as a Volunteer Deputy Registrar has been well educated and trained on voter registration, the voting process and political race and candidate information.

As Volunteer Deputy Registrars, the students are able to help with voter registration across the state.

“Our mission is to educate people and encourage them to vote,” said Moreno. “We want people to recognize the importance of voting and its impact.”

Iris Juarez, TSTC Business Management Technology graduate, returned this semester to complete her Academic Core and took on the lead role in this initiative.

“I’m excited about this opportunity. I have a passion for this kind of work,” Juarez said. “Our vote is our voice. People fought to give us this right and we have to take full advantage of it. It’s our responsibility to educate others about this.”

TSTC partnered with the Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas (AACT), a non-profit, nonpartisan entity that serves as a uniting “table” for all nonpartisan, charitable voter registration turnout efforts in the community, since South Texas sits below the state average for voter turnout.

According to AACT, six out of 10 people in Texas vote, but in the Rio Grande Valley only two out of 10 people exercise their right to vote.

“The amount of people voting in elections needs to increase,” said Juarez. “We have students at TSTC turning 18 nearly every day and they are part of the future of tomorrow. We need to educate them.”

TSTC’s voter registration initiative is year-round and, for students, it begins during their New Student Orientation.

The students so far have registered more than 200 people.

Voter registration at TSTC is open to faculty, staff, students and the Cameron County community.

The last day to register to vote is October 6, early voting at TSTC is October 22-26 in the Student Center VIP Room from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To register to vote or for more information on voter registration, call 956-364-4117.

 

Student Success Profile – Iris Juarez

(HARLINGEN) – Iris JuarezIris Juarez graduated in Summer 2018 from Texas State Technical College with an associate degree in Business Management Technology.

The 21-year-old returned to TSTC to complete her Academic Core, where she also holds a 3.3 grade-point average and is a student orientation leader with TSTC’s New Student Orientation office.

The San Benito native also serves on the TSTC Service Squad, Leadership Academy and has taken on the responsibility of leading TSTC’s voter registration initiative.

What are your plans after graduation?

After finishing my classes at TSTC I will transfer to the University of Texas at San Antonio to pursue a bachelor’s degree in General Business Administration with a minor in Communications.

What’s your dream job?

I currently work part time at my parents’ air conditioning business. This is giving me the experience I need to one day make my dream of managing a cosmetic or logistics business or even opening a business of my own.

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at TSTC?

My greatest accomplishment while at TSTC was applying and getting the student worker position with the New Student Orientation office. It is because of this job that I am now involved in several on campus organizations, I’ve grown personally and professionally and I’ve created long-lasting friendships.

What greatest lesson have you learned about yourself or life?

The greatest lesson I have learned is to not underestimate myself and to always pursue the challenges that scare me. If something doesn’t scare me, then I’m not growing.

Who at TSTC has had the most influence on your success?

There are two people on campus who have had a great influence on my success. First it’s my Business Management Technology Instructor Steve Szymoniak. He has taught me to be bold and not be afraid of a challenge. He’s a go-getter and he aspires his students to be go-getters also. Next is Student Orientation and Student Activities Coordinator Larissa Moreno. She has helped me grow and reach out of my comfort zone. She challenges me and teaches me confidence.

What is your advice for future TSTC students?

My advice for future TSTC students is to get involved and join campus organizations. Doing this can change your entire college experience, you meet a great network of people and try new things. Also, take advantage of the resources and services TSTC offers its students. There is so much available.

TSTC, TWC partnership provides manufacturing training for local companies

(HARLINGEN) – Michael Durant, a mechatronics tool and die maker at AdTech Plastic Technology in Harlingen has not been in a classroom since the 1980’s, but thanks to a partnership between Texas State Technical College and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) he is back and ready to learn.

“I love learning. You’re never too old to learn,” said the 49-year-old sitting in industrial math. “It feels great to be back and I’m excited for this opportunity.”

Durant and others from Fox Valley Molding and Aloe Laboratories in Harlingen and Sauceda’s Precision Grinding in San Benito make up a Harlingen Consortium that was recently awarded a $155,721 Skills Development Fund Grant for a full year of training.

TSTC’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education Executive Director Isidro Ramos said training provided by the TWC is crucial for companies, especially those with less than 100 employees.

“Technology is constantly evolving and it’s important for companies to keep their employees up to date,” said Ramos. “It’s a competitive industry and to remain competitive and keep production high, training is a priority.”

David Blackburn, Fox Valley Molding general manager, who has participated in other TSTC trainings in the past, said continual training is crucial. He will be sending various employees from the tool shop and maintenance to TSTC.TSTC & TWC Harlingen Consortium Training

“We’ve always had a great experience with TSTC. It’s always a great learning experience for my employees,” said Blackburn. “So when this opportunity became available, we couldn’t pass it up.”

“I’ve personally seen skill sets improve, employees gain a better scope and understanding of their work and our production increase,” he added. “So I’m looking forward to seeing what we’ll gain at the end of this training.”

Employees from the four companies that make up the consortium began training this month and will take classes such as basic blueprint reading, industrial math, basic supervision, programmable logic controls and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10.

All training is customized to the companies’ needs and will be performed at TSTC and on-site.

Nathan Hernandez, a toolmaker apprentice at Fox Valley Molding, sat in Industrial Math with Durant, and as a TSTC Precision Machining Technology grad, being in the classroom was déjà vu.

“Knowing that my professional development is important and being given this opportunity is appreciated,” said the TSTC alum. “I’m hoping to learn as much as I can and I look forward to implementing what I learn into my daily work.”

As for Durant, who has been in the industry nearly three decades, he is excited to learn about new technologies and techniques.

“I’m just hoping to come out smarter than I came in,” he said with a laugh. “But in all seriousness, a lot has changed in our field, and new technology is introduced constantly, so I’m hoping to get myself up to speed on a lot of it with this training.”

TSTC has hosted other consortium trainings in the past thanks to Skill Development Fund Grants from the TWC with local manufacturing companies such as Saint-Gobain, Prism, Rich Products and Portage Plastics.

“Employers look forward to these trainings,” said Ramos. “This partnership is way for us to enhance our manufacturing industry and economic development, while providing quality training, which is our forte.”

For more information on the courses and services offered by TSTC’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education, call 956-364-4590 or visit tstc.edu/workforce/ce.